Threatened Species Programme
The Threatened Species Programme, funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy from 2004-2009, is a monitoring and reporting programme that is divided into plant and animal units. The plant component comprises the Red List of South African plants and the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) programme.
What we do
Threatened Species Programme Mandate
The TSP is mandated to monitor and report on the conservation status of South Africa's indigenous plant and animal species. The TSP coordinates the collection of information on species, particularly those that have historically received little research and conservation attention, such as reptiles, spiders and marine fish, through projects involving volunteers from the public, and scientists, taxonomists and conservationists from partner institutions across the country. The data collected through these projects are used to assess species' risk of extinction against the international Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In addition, the TSP coordinates and promotes the application of threatened species information in all spheres of biodiversity conservation - from national and international conservation legislation and policy, to conservation planning, protected area selection, protection of threatened habitats, and ex-situ breeding programmes within the SANBI National Botanical Gardens.
How does the TSP work?
The TSP does not employ large numbers of scientists to conduct the monitoring work. Instead, it has developed innovative ways of involving the public. Together with various partners, the programme has initiated a number of national biodiversity conservation assessment projects.
The projects involve field collecting trips in which interested members of the public can participate, and a web-based virtual museum of digital photographs submitted by the public. The images on the virtual museum are linked to an accurate set of coordinates, a date, the observer's name, and reliable species identification by experts. The TSP has alligned itself with the IUCN's Red List system for its Red listing of species.
What is a Conservation Assessment?
A conservation assessment describes the likelihood of a species becoming extinct, and is the basis for Red Lists. Species listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable (collectively referred to as Threatened species) are those that have been assessed as having a high risk of extinction in the near future. Conservation assessments highlight species of significant conservation importance, providing baseline information needed for conservation planning.
What we have achieved
- South African Reptile Conservation Assesment (SARCA) in partnership with University of Cape Town's Animal Demographic Unit.
- South African Butterflies Conservation Assesment (SABCA) in partnership with University of Cape Town's Animal Demographic Unit.
- South African National Survey of Arachnida (SANSA) in partnership with Agricultural Research Council
- Southern African Bird Atlas II in partnership with University of Cape Town's Animal Demographic Unit.
- Western Leopard Toad atlas in partnership with Cape Nature, City of Cape Town, Overstrand Municipality, Table Mountain National Park, Nature Conservation Corporation and volunteers of the public